Sicilian Butcher: The Maggiore Family Mixes Traditional and New Italian
Meat cleavers hang tastefully from the ceiling, repurposed bright-red dry-ice tongs grasp cool Edison-style light bulbs and a floor-to-ceiling exhibition meat fridge supplies the charcuterie board entrées: Sicilian Butcher is as innovative a space as it is an innovative kitchen whipping together new and traditional Italian specialties such as craft meatballs and charcuterie boards.
The slick interior is the work of Cristina Maggiore, wife of Joey Maggioire, CEO of The Maggiore Group. A large image of Joey’s dad, the well-known Valley restaurateur, Tomaso Maggiore, oversees the dining area. The exhibition layout allows you to see the chefs making the pasta, cooking the meatballs and slicing the meat.
The warm, spirited service is Italian inspired: Another member of the Maggiore family warmly welcomed us on arrival. When we left, that stepped up to a warm “see-you-soon” hug. You can also order to-go.
Inspired by owner Tomaso’s connection with the unique cuisine from his native island in the Mediterranean, Sicilian Butcher joins the rapidly growing Maggiore Group, based in Scottsdale. The company also owns the original Tomaso’s Italian Restaurant in Phoenix, opened by Tomaso in 1977; Tomaso’s When in Rome, north Scottsdale; and three Hash Kitchens, two in Scottsdale and, just opened, in Chandler. Two more Sicilian Butcher restaurants are expected to debut this year.
Just off corner on Tatum Boulevard north of Greenway Road, the recent addition to the Maggiore family of restaurants replaced the Modern Grove restaurant in December 2017 with a knock-down renovation, adding garage doors and a chiller-cooled and covered outdoors seating. Any night, weekends and weekdays, the patio is packed.
“Sicilian Butcher combines Tomaso’s and Hash Kitchen, familiar traditional Italian food and innovative dishes with a twist,” says Joey, who employs about 60 at the restaurant.
“People come in for different things and for different reasons,” he explains. “We want Sicilian Butcher to become a household name, a part of our family of restaurants: Hash Kitchen for breakfast/brunch with fun music and vibrant drinks, here at Sicilian Butcher for great shareable dishes or full platters and Tomaso’s and Tomaso’s When in Rome for traditional Italian.”
Lauren Smith, sous chef for The Maggiore Group, and Marie, our server, brought us a variety of samplers, beginning with a robust salad: Flora’s: baby field greens, arugula, beefsteak tomatoes, Roman artichokes, roasted peppers, Sicilian olives, shaved Parmigiano, toasted pine nuts and balsamic vinaigrette.
Next up was one of the most popular dishes at SB: an appetizer, the Charred Octopus, with shaved fennel, poached potatoes, pickled red onion, Sicilian olives, Calabrian chilies and citrus oil. “It’s such a unique dish and not easy to find here in the Valley, so we have quite a following for it,” Maggiore says.
Another appetizer, the Arancini, is a trio of saffron rice balls, fresh mozzarella, Bolognese meat ragu (it’s the surprise inside) and English peas.
For shared meals with friends and family and snacking, the Charcuterie Boards have been the “go-to” choices. The one we were offered, the Cured Meat & Cheese, includes artisanal cured meats from the exhibition refrigerator, such as salami and provolone, and goat and honey brie cheese, beefsteak tomatoes, pickled fennel and cornichons.
We also enjoyed one of the Schiacciata, Flatbreads: the Smoked Salmon, with dill mascarpone, red onions, crispy capers and micro arugula.
The marquee entrée at Sicilian Butcher is the Craft Meatballs, with 15 options and eight sauces. The adventure begins by choosing which meatball, continues with the sauce, then the bottom or bed.
We sampled three, starting with The Tomaso’s Sicilian; the meatballs combine ground veal, prime beef and pork, and the dish is served with pine nuts, raisins, pecorino cheese, garlic and fresh herbs. A bed of mafaldine, or mafalde, a ribbon-shaped pasta similar to fettuccine, excellently complemented the meatballs.
As we neared pleasant satisfaction, we tried the Sicilian Sausage, ground pork, Auricchio provolone, peppers, onions and fresh herbs on the excellent Vodka Cream Sauce, including San Marzano tomato, shallots and chili flakes.
Another option, Lump Crag & Shrimp, includes garlic, Meyer lemon, fresh herbs, whipped Boursin cheese and bread crumbs. This was served on the Pamigiano Cream Sauce, with nutmeg.
A finish was the Olive Oil Cake Tiramisu, with espresso and Kahlúa, sweet mascarpone and dusted with cocoa powder and chocolate-covered espresso beans. Can we add fudge?
Of course, you can enjoy a menu of fine wines and beers, craft cocktails, espresso, cappuccino or just a cup of joe.
“Please stop by,” Maggiore says. “There really is nothing else like this anywhere in the Valley.”
Sicilian Butcher, thesicilianbutcher.com.